The new 525-metre Grafton bridge over the Clarence River has entered the home stretch with the project passing the halfway mark last week.
Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis said the much anticipated $240 million project would revolutionise life in the Clarence Valley and reconnect Grafton and South Grafton in the way the original bridge did eighty years ago.
“The bridge is the single biggest infrastructure spend that the Jacaranda city has ever seen and will benefit Grafton and the wider Clarence Valley for decades,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“Watching the bridge go up reminds us that actions speak louder than words – this bridge was promised in the past but only delivered now by the Nationals Government.
“When finished later this year, the new bridge will alleviate the pressure on the existing bridge making it safer for thousands of locals who use it each day as well as heavy-vehicles, emergency services and holiday makers.
“While the new bridge will be one lane each way when it opens, we are also planning for the future, with the new bridge having the ability to be easily expanded to two lanes each way,” he said.
So far 88 of the 176 pre-cast segments and all 14 super-T girders required for the bridge are in place, resulting in a 262-metre continuous span.
Pier heads are being lifted into place at the northern side of the bridge in preparation for the rest of the pre-cast segments to be attached.
Mr Gulaptis said another milestone would be achieved in the coming weeks, with preparation in full swing for the replacement of the rail bridge over Pound Street.
“The trusses for this bridge are already in Grafton awaiting installation over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, from Saturday 8 to Monday 10 June,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“The project team will be working for 72 hours straight to remove the current rail bridge and replace it with a 42-metre steel truss bridge.
“This will see the clearance height over Pound Street increased to 5.3 metres and will allow for Pound Street to be upgraded, becoming the approach road to the new bridge,” he said.
For more information on this project visit: www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/northern-nsw/grafton-clarence-river-crossing.